Sunday, January 7, 2007

And now, for something completely different...

Well, the first week of the course went about as well as I can imagine. Good reading, good thinking, engaging writing, and lots of cross-posting. Thanks for all of your efforts.

Now, we're going to set Susan Bickford aside (for a while -- we'll return to her article later on) and move to something entirely different. You should all have a copy of Paco Underhill's Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping, and that's what we'll turn to for the next few days. If Bickford is poetry to be read slowly and carefully, Underhill is a Tom Clancy novel to be breezed through at full clip. I read a third of it this morning in the laundromat.

One of the things I like about Paco's work is the care with which he pays attention to what real people actually do in their environments. He's also willing to put himself on the line, and say "If you follow my recommendations, your store will make more money." That's pretty gutsy, and his degree of repeat clientele seems to bear him out.

But one of the other reasons I like this book in juxtaposition with Susan Bickford is that it points out the need for the design professional to be "bilingual." You need to be able to immerse yourself in the theory, to be able to understand (and to create) a philosophical standpoint, but you also have to be able to present ideas in a way that busy people can grasp and understand. It also helps if you have a sense of humor about it, and Paco definitely does have that. He's got the acres of data and the extensive analyses, but he can put his finger on what a decision-maker needs to know, make a convincing argument in a few minutes, and get changes made. So as you're reading, keep one eye on what he's saying and the other eye on how he's saying it.


Felix said...

Many of Paco explanation reminds me the art of "feng-shui," that brings harmony and balance in any space..

Felix said...

Btw, after reading Susan Bickford essay, my brain starts to sketch the condition based on her essay.